John Brown, with allies including five black men, led an armed abolitionist raid on the Harpers Ferry arsenal in Virginia. Two days later the US Army, led by Colonel Robert E. Lee, stormed Harpers Ferry and captured Brown.
Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which overturned the Missouri Compromise. This opened Kansas and Nebraska to white settlement and allowed popular sovereignty to determine slave- or free-state status in territories seeking statehood. The act destroyed the Whig Party, divided the Democratic Party, and prompted the creation the Republican Party. The author of this legislation was Senator Stephen A. Douglas, who had pushed the Compromise of 1850 through Congress. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Territories, Douglas had proposed...
In a series of seven political debates across the state of Illinois, Senate-hopeful Abraham Lincoln and incumbent Stephen Douglas argued the question of slavery. Though Lincoln lost to Douglas, the debates pushed him into the nation’s consciousness and made him a viable presidential candidate in 1860.
In reprisal for the Sack of Lawrence and the attack on Charles Sumner, John Brown and six companions murdered five pro-slavery men at Pottawatomie Creek in Kansas. A war of reprisals left 200 dead in “Bleeding Kansas.”